The first steps of a multi-stage plan to regulate the cryptocurrency industry within Australia have been released.

The Australian government has announced the first step of what it calls a multi-stage approach to tackling cryptocurrency regulation.

According to the announcement, “the multi‑stage approach has three elements: strengthening enforcement, bolstering consumer protection; and establishing a framework for reform.”

The first step begins with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) increasing the size of its crypto team and “upping enforcement measures.” These enforcement measures described include taking legal action when cryptocurrencies are marketed without appropriate financial licenses. In addition, the report describes that particular attention will be paid to making sure risks are properly disclosed to consumers.

These steps are intended to step up efforts targeting scams, especially those involving cryptocurrencies.

“The Government’s National Anti‑Scams Centre, located within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), will facilitate real‑time data sharing and the coordinated prevention and disruption of scams,” reads the report, indicating that the collection of data will be a major part of the operations.

In addition to the steps announced today, the government introduced a token mapping consultation paper addressing “which elements of the crypto ecosystem are sufficiently regulated and which require additional attention.” The paper addresses Bitcoin specifically, describing it as a cryptocurrency network with the intent to operate as a “peer-to-peer payment structure,” as a “new form of currency.” In addition, the use cases of Bitcoin are illustrated, including its use as a store of value, and as a medium of exchange, “particularly in emerging markets.”

The Australian government’s multi-stage approach to cryptocurrency regulation is designed to protect consumers while also providing oversight and regulatory clarity, but it remains to be seen if this regulatory environment will stifle growth and innovation, or fulfill its intended purpose while harboring growth. 


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